Vaccine clinics hope personal stories will tip the scales

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Posted at 6:49 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 19:09:08-04

Standing outside a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Winton Hills, two pastors and one retired University of Cincinnati basketball legend — all fully vaccinated — spent their Wednesday evangelizing about the benefits of getting the shot.

“Mentally, I got a huge sense of freedom,” said Rev. Kathy Angie, who preaches at Winton Hills Presbyterian Church. “It felt really good."

Angie, who is in her 70s, is married to a man with lung problems. The pair spent their year-long quarantine worried about the consequences of catching or transmitting COVID-19; over the winter, they lost a close friend to the virus. The shot, Angie said, allowed them to step back into the world.

“Oh my goodness,” she said Wednesday. “I went to a Reds game. I went to the art museum. I go to the grocery store. I play with my grandkids, I spend time with family, I go visit other friends who are also vaccinated. Finally, we can be together in person, and I have friends over for dinner and we can sit down and talk with each other without masks and without having to be distanced because we all have the vaccine.”

Speaking with her outside the clinic were Floyd Walker, who preaches at Bethlehem Batist Church and co-own Happy’s Pizza, and Walker’s business partner, retired basketball player Courie Blount.

Walker’s congregants can safely worship in the sanctuary of the church instead of online, now, he said. That’s big. He’s also been able to visit family and friends in hospitals and nursing homes, where visitation has been tightly restricted to protect vulnerable people inside.

Live sports are still important to the Blount family, Blount said, and the pandemic took big bites out of athletics at every level. He’s hopeful for a future in which he can go to his children’s games with a big crowd.

“My kids play sports, and for a while it was only me and my wife would be able to attend,” he said. “I wanted their other siblings to be able too come watch them play, and their grandparents, but because of this COVID they weren't able to. So, hopefully, if everyone gets vaccinated it will open everything up and we'll be able to move freely again."